Biochar research hiding here

Endemic Plants as Browse Crops in Agricultural Landscapes of New Zealand

This title does not hint at a biochar connection and neither does the synopsis for this recent research publication from the Department of Ecology at Lincoln University.

But closer inspection finds that biochar and biosolids were used as soil amendments as part of this research…

endemic plants

The results from this work are not inspiring from a biochar proponents perspective…

endemic plants1


What I assume from this work is that,

  • the biochar was added in a raw state
  • it was added at very high volume (20%)
  • it is a short duration study (months).

I would contend that these conditions are not what the biochar community want to see in contemporary biochar research… and particularly in combination. Some of the ‘failures’ in past biochar research have been re-evaluated based on better understanding on how to prepare biochar as a soil nutrient carrier and biology habitat. Biochar can be prepared in many ways and should be specifically selected (based on original biomass, process conditions and post-production treatment) for the application in question. I wonder about alternative outcomes from this study if the biochar had been composted fully with the biosolids and applied at rates consistent with current thinking on practical applications… and then observe for a few years.

You can find a scan PDF of the paper with an internet search. Let me know if you have a problem picking it up.

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